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Takapuna Primary School

Takapuna Primary started their interactive whiteboard journey in 2010.

Things got even more interesting in 2015 when Takapuna purchased their first Activpanel.....

Takapuna Primary started their interactive whiteboard journey in 2010. They took possession of their brand new Activboard and embarked on a new educational path eagerly.

"It was so exciting. I was DP at the time - I now work part-time as an eLearning Leader in the school." says Melissa Grant. "We had some teachers who were really enthusiastic, and some more hesitant, but it worked really well getting the keen ones to learn first and help educate others."

The school slowly got them in all classrooms over the course of three years and it was a great success, especially in terms of sharing resources between staff. "The key was good professional support," says Melissa, "there's no point in having the best technology if teachers don't feel confident to use it. It involves a bit of a change of culture and some robust training, but it's so worth it in the end."

Last year the school became a BYOD school from Year 5 up and now it is Year 3 and up. It's not compulsory to bring a device but they find between the school's Chromebooks and the students who do have one, there's more than enough per classroom. "With their devices we can have multiple kids editing the same Google doc at one time," says Jason Barnes, a Year 6 teacher. "It's wonderful, especially for engaging those shyer students who might feel more comfortable typing than speaking."

Melissa agrees. "When we use the board with little ones it's great for including those who are less-confident.

I once did an exercise on the Maui and the Sun legend and we were able to include all students, even the quieter ones. We watched a YouTube video of the story on the board then wrote our own recount on the touch screen.

The kids could either spell the word themselves or drag and drop a picture in to represent it. It took the pressure off them if they were struggling to spell and really made them feel like they could contribute in whatever way they felt comfortable.

They were all so proud."

Things got even more interesting in 2015 when Takapuna purchased their first Activpanel.

"These are amazing to use" says Jason. "They are more like a TV screen - they boot up quickly, they're very portable and there's no calibration issues or glare, like you have with a projector.

They have four HDMI plugs built-in meaning we can plug in laptops, Apple TV, Chromebooks, Chromecast whatever we want, with ease.

It works brilliantly within a BYOD environment and the fact you can have 10 touch screen users at the same time is great.

I had 10 kids using a painting programme today, all at the same time. It was great!"

The school also now has one Clevertouch unit for the younger children.

This is in a Year 2 innovative learning environment which has 70 children and four teachers. "We love them as they are so portable and can swing around to look like a normal whiteboard. It's very inclusive and we love using them for things like handwriting. It's so much easier to see if they are forming their letters correctly and we find they help each other so much too."

Melissa says they have definitely noticed an improvement in engagement levels since the Activboards, and now panels. "It appeals to such a broad range of learning styles and our children's progress over a period definitely reflect the fact they respond well to this kind of learning environment."

Takapuna Primary School have seen such a dramatic improvement in the advancing technology that they are now budgeting for more Activpanels to be installed in 2016 ….. watch this space.

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